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Geraldine Fiss


Contact Information

Office: THH 372
Phone: (213) 740-0063


  • B.A. East Asian Languages and Literatures, Smith College, 05/1997
  • Ph.D. East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University, 06/2009

Postdoctoral Training

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Southern California, 2010-2015  


  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Southern California, 2010


Summary Statement of Research Interests

  • Géraldine Fiss is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Southern California and received her Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University in 2009. She is interested in tracing the cross-cultural nexus of forces that influences literary, cultural and cinematic production in modern China and throughout East Asia in the early modern, modern and contemporary periods. In particular, her research illuminates the ways in which Chinese poets, writers, thinkers and film-makers synthesize modern Western (especially German) and non-Western impulses with classical Chinese aesthetics to create new, distinctly Chinese modern (and modernist) works and philosophical ideas. Her book project, entitled “Textual Travels and Traveling Texts,” examines encounters between Chinese intellectuals of the late Qing/early Republican (ca. 1860-1911) period and German culture, literature and thought. She also delineates innovations in Chinese fiction and literary theory that took place in the early modern period, as well as intellectual/aesthetic connections between late Qing, Meiji Japanese and late 19th/early 20th century European writers. In her current research, she is focusing on modernist and contemporary Chinese poetry and the trans-cultural influences that inform it. In particular, she has published articles on the ways in which modernist and contemporary Chinese poets and writers understand, integrate and respond to the literary aesthetics and poetic oevre of the German modernist master Rainer Maria Rilke. In addition, she studies and teaches the genre of the fantastic in modern East Asian literature and film, problems of translation and modernization in East Asia, the feminine as a counter-discourse to Chinese modernity and ecocriticism in contemporary Chinese and East Asian literature and film.

Research Keywords

  • Translation and Modernization in East Asia, Transnational Modernisms, Chinese-German Comparative Literature and Culture Studies, Feminism / Femininity in Modern Chinese Literature and Film, The Fantastic in East Asian Literature and Film, East Asian Ecocriticism, East Asian Film and Visual Studies

Research Specialties

  • Early modern, modern and contemporary Chinese literature, intellectual history and film; Cultural translation in East Asia; East-West literary, aesthetic and cinematic relations; Modern and contemporary Chinese poetry; Chinese and transnational modernisms; The fantastic in East Asian literature and film; Chinese women's literature and film, East Asian ecocriticism

New Courses Developed

  • EALC 499: Writing Women in Modern China, East Asian Languages and Cultures, The aim of this course is to elucidate feminine and feminist literary and cultural consciousness in modern China. So as to achieve this goal, we will analyze fiction, film and other media by both male and female authors who are concerned with the lives and realities of Chinese women. What do women wish to liberate themselves from, how do they enact this and to what end? How do some of the most influential men of modern Chinese letters understand and portray the situation of women? In what ways does the problem of gender complicate the ideological advent of modernity in China? And how does the contemporary situation of globalization impact Chinese women and their writings today? Throughout the course, we examine how several generations of intellectuals reconciled themselves to – and resisted – the expectations of women under Confucianism, Communism and Capitalism in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries., Fall 2013   
  • EALC 499: The Fantastic in Modern East Asian Literature and Film, East Asian Languages and Cultures, This course examines the power of fantastic texts to illuminate, interrogate and subvert reality. It does so through readings and analyses of modern Chinese and Japanese short stories, novels and films. How can fantastic texts teach us to perceive problems in the cultural psyche from a more critical, insightful perspective? What is the cognitive function of fantastic fiction and film at the threshold of the modern and postmodern moments? How have modern Chinese and Japanese intellectuals and artists shaped the literary genre of the fantastic to fit their particular experiences? And how do these fantastic texts fit into the practice of modernism? So as to find answers to these questions, we will read key examples of the modern fantastic genre in conjunction with theoretical articles and other secondary materials., Fall 2011